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Steps to Create a Flash Briefing Skill

You create Flash Briefing skills in the Amazon developer portal. When you create a skill you provide information, configuration and define one or more feeds that provide content for the skill. A feed can be text or audio that you own or have the rights to distribute. It’s important to note that you will create a skill for each language you offer a Flash Briefing in. This means that if you target three languages for your skill, you should create three separate skills.

This topic provides the steps for creating and configuring a Flash Briefing skill in the developer portal, testing the skill, and submitting it for certification.

Register as an Amazon Developer and Create a Skill

To configure a new Flash Briefing skill, you need an account on the Amazon Developer Portal. If you don’t already have an account, go to https://developer.amazon.com/login.html and create an account. Registering is free. Once you’ve registered:

Developer Console Beta

In the developer console beta, you create a new skill and then select the Flash Briefing pre-built model. This creates the new skill and opens the Build configuration page. From here you can add the feeds for your content.
  1. Open the Amazon Developer Portal in a browser and log in.
  2. Navigate to the Alexa section by clicking Alexa in the top navigation.
  3. In the Alexa Skills Kit box, click Get Started.
  4. Click the Add a New Skill button. You will see a page that contains tabs representing the skill certification steps. The next few sections will walk you through the tasks you need to complete for each of these steps.

Set a Name, Language and Error Message

  1. On the Skill Information page, select Flash Briefing Skill API.
  2. In the Language drop-down, choose the language for your skill. A Flash Briefing skill targets a single language and you cannot change the language once you select it. In addition, a skill preamble, error message, descriptions and content should be in the language selected for the skill.

    Skill Information
    Skill Information
  3. Enter the Name for your skill. This name appears to customers in the Alexa App. Make sure this name does not imply sponsorship by Amazon, or infringe on the copyright, trademark and publicity rights of a third party. Click Next.
  4. On the Interaction Model page, click Next. The interaction model for Flash Briefing skills is predefined. For example, English-speaking customers would get their flash briefing by saying phrases like the following:

    • “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?”
    • “Alexa, what’s in the news?”

    German-speaking customers get their flash briefing by saying phrases like the following:

    • “Alexa, was ist meine tägliche Zusammenfassung?”
    • “Alexa, was sind die Nachrichten?””
    Interaction Model

Add One or More Flash Briefing Feeds

A Flash Briefing skill can contain multiple feeds of text or audio content. Typically each feed focuses on a specific genre of content such as sports or local news. Alexa will read a text feed, called text-to-speech (TTS) or play audio. One feed must serve as the default feed, which is always turned on for a skill. The remainder of the feeds for a skill can be turned on by the customer that enables your skill. For details of the feed formats and contents, see Flash Briefing Skill API Feed Reference.

Developer Console Beta

In the developer console beta, you configure the Custom Error Message and feeds on the Build page. Edit your skill and select Flash Briefing from the sidebar.

On the Configuration tab:

  1. Provide a Custom Error Message. Alexa uses this message if feed content is not available for some reason. Make sure this message is in the language you chose for your skill. This means if you provide an English skill, your error message should be in English. If you provide a German skill, your error message should be in German.
  2. Under Feed Information, click the Add new feed button.
  3. For Preamble, enter the audio introduction for this feed. Alexa will say the preamble before reading or playing the feed contents. The preamble is limited to 70 characters, and should be in the same language you chose for your skill. In addition, the preamble should start with certain words:

    • For English, “In” or “From”
    • For German, “Im” or “Von”, “In”, “Vom” or “Aus”
  4. For Name, enter a name that is unique for this skill and helps customers determine the content.
  5. For Content update frequency, choose the closest value to how frequently you update your content.
  6. In the Content type field, select whether your feed is a text or audio feed. For text content, you can provide a feed in RSS or JSON format. If it’s an audio file, the content should be stereo or mono MP3 with a bitrate of at least 256kbps.
  7. For Content genre, select the best description of your content from the drop down.
  8. In the URL box, add the URL for the text or audio content feed. The URL cannot be any destination which requires the customer to login.
  9. For Feed Icon, specify an image to represent this content feed. The image must be 512 x 512 pixel jpg or png. This image will display in the Alexa App.
  10. Click Save to add the feed.
  11. Repeat these steps each feed you provide for the skill. The first feed you add will automatically be marked as the default feed. If you add more feeds, you can choose which feed is the default, by selecting it in the Default column.
  12. Click Next when you are finished adding feeds and are ready to test your skill.
Feed Information

Test Your Flash Briefing Skill

The next step in skill creation is to test the Flash Briefing skill on your Alexa-enabled device. You must have this device registered to the same account as your developer account for your skill to display.

  1. On the Test tab in the developer portal, make sure the slider is set to Yes (the default) to enable your skill for testing.
  2. Find your skill in the Alexa app by applying the Your Skills filter, and enable the skill.
  3. After you enable your skill, you can ask Alexa, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” for an English skill or “Alexa, was ist meine tägliche Zusammenfassung?” for a German skill. Your content should play or be read by Alexa.
  4. You should enable all of the feeds for your skill and test them with your Alexa device or app.
  5. Click Next when you have completed testing of your skill.

Provide Publishing Information for your Skill

The descriptions and images you provide on the Publishing Information page provide the content that displays in the Alexa App. Customers can scroll through a list of skills, and select a skill to see more detailed information. The interaction model is already defined so the most important information you provide is a short and long description of your skill, and the images that identify your skill.

  1. Fill in the Short Skill Description. This displays in the skills list in the Alexa app and should be in the same language your skill targets.
  2. Provide a Full Skill Description. This displays when the customer selects your skill for more information, and so should be in the same language that your skill targets. The full skill description should list all feeds that are offered with your skill. The following image shows the Full Skill Description field from the developer portal, and how it would display in the Alexa App.
Publishing Details
  1. Select a Category for your skill from the drop-down.
  2. Add a Small (108 x 108 pixels) and Large Icon (512 x 512 pixels) to identify your skill. Also, If your images are the wrong size, they will be rejected.
  3. Provide Testing Instructions for your skill, or enter None in this field if there are no special instructions.
  4. Click Next.

Answer the Privacy and Compliance Questions

The Privacy and Compliance page lists questions that are standard for every skill type. It’s important to note that a Flash Briefing skill should not enable users to make purchases or ask customers for personal information.

  1. Answer the questions regarding purchases and personal information.
  2. Optionally, provide a Privacy Policy URL and a Terms of Use URL.
  3. Under Export Compliance, check to certify that your Flash Briefing skill may be imported to and exported from the United States and all countries that Amazon operates, or choose Selected countries and regions: and individually select the countries where you would like to offer your skill.

Perform Final Review and Submit for Certification

  1. Use the Flash Briefing Skill Certification Checklist for a final check of your skill.
  2. Navigate back to your skill in the developer portal and click Submit for Certification.